Happy birthday, Kino Světozor! The iconic Prague cinema turns 15

Iconic central Prague cinema Kino Světozor turns a sprightly 15 years old this year, and will be hosting a special week-long lineup of features to celebrate.

Given Kino Světozor’s location in central Prague and it’s preference for English-friendly screenings, the cinema has long been a favorite among Prague’s expat population and visiting cinephiles.

To celebrate their 15th birthday, Kino Světozor will present a week-long lineup of 15 of their favorite features that have screened in the Světozor halls over the past 15 years starting tomorrow, May 24.

Those include some Czech classics like the innovative 1968 feature Kinoautomat, billed as the world’s first interactive movie, and Občan Havel, a wonderful 2007 documentary about the first President of the Czech Republic (both screened in Czech without subtitles).

Four excellent English-language features will also screen during the celebration, and make for a good chance to catch up if you missed them in cinemas the first time around: Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Wes Anderson’ Moonrise Kingdom, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, and Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson.

Kino Světozor’s Grand Hall

Kino Světozor’s Grand Hall

One of my most memorable experiences in Kino Světozor was a 4K screening of Melancholia back in 2011, when the cinema’s then-new surround sound system reverberated throughout the halls during the film’s apocalyptic climax.

Save for an NT Live screening of Frankenstein (250 crowns) and Kinoautomat (200 crowns), tickets to films screening as part of Kino Světozor’s 15th birthday party can be had for a mere 100 crowns, a nifty discount from the usual 140 crown entrance.

Here’s the schedule for Kino Světozor’s 15th birthday party:

Friday, May 24
18:00: Alois Nebel (in Czech)
20:30: The Hateful Eight

Saturday, May 25
16:00: Song of the Sea (dubbed into Czech)
18:00: Perfect Strangers (in Italian with Czech subtitles)
20:30: The Great Beauty (in Italian with Czech subtitles)

Sunday, May 26
16:00: Wilder Than Wilderness (in Czech)
18:00: Ida (in Polish with Czech subtitles)
20:30: Melancholia

Monday, May 27
18:00: Wild Tales (in Spanish with Czech subtitles)
20:30: Roma (in Spanish with Czech subtitles)

Tuesday, May 28
19:45: Frankenstein (NT Live)

Wednesday, May 29
18:00: Citizen Havel (in Czech)
20:30: Paterson

Thursday, May 30
18:00: Moonrise Kingdom
20:30: Kinoautomat (in Czech)

While the modern incarnation of Kino Světozor is celebrating its 15th birthday this year, the history of cinema in the Světozor passage dates back much further.

Inside the U Stýblů Palace, just around the corner from Kino Světozor, sits the remains of what was once Kino Alfa, the most prestigious Czech cinema during much of the 20th century. Kino Alfa hosted the premiere of the first Czech sound film (Tonka Šibenice) in 1929 and the first widescreen projection in the Czech Republic (La meilleure part) in 1956, and continued to show movies through the 1990s.

Today, however, Kino Alfa sits in disrepair. Though the facade of the cinema is still visible inside the U Stýblů Palace, the current owners have failed to make necessary repairs to continue operations despite urging from the city of Prague.



Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *